Price vs. nutrition: Making smart choices

Although healthful foods often cost more than high-calorie junk such as cookies and soda, we unearthed some encouraging exceptions. As illustrated below, two rich sources of nutrients, black beans and eggs, cost mere pennies per serving—and less than plain noodles, which supply fewer nutrients. And for the same price as a doughnut, packed with empty calories, you can buy a serving of broccoli.

 
Cooked black beans

Cooked black beans

Serving size ½ cup

Calories per serving 114

Cost per serving

 
Hard-boiled egg

Hard-boiled egg

Serving size one medium

Calories per serving 78

Cost per serving

 
Cooked noodles

Cooked noodles

Serving size ¾ cup

Calories per serving 166

Cost per serving 13¢

 
Glazed donut

Glazed doughnut

Serving size 1 medium

Calories per serving 239

Cost per serving 32¢

 
Cooked broccoli

Cooked broccoli

Serving size ½ cup chopped

Calories per serving 27

Cost per serving 33¢

 
Chicken breast

Chicken breast

Serving size 4 oz.

Calories per serving 142

Cost per serving 50¢

 
Sources: Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington; USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
Photographs by Russell Smith
Posted: January 2009 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: February 2009